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Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

SAN DIEGO—

Scripps Health en­tered hospice care as the area’s big­gest hospice provider con­tin­ues to scale down its op­er­a­tions un­der bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion. The not-for-profit San Diego Hospice laid off about a third of its em­ploy­ees af­ter dis­clos­ing last year that it faced un­cer­tainty un­der an on­go­ing Medi­care au­dit. On Feb. 4, the com­pany filed for Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy in San Diego. The com­pany has closed its 23-bed in­pa­tient fa­cil­ity—the only one of its kind in Cal­i­for­nia—pend­ing the out­come of the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion. Scripps Health Pres­i­dent and CEO Chris Van Gorder said in an in­ter­view that San Diego Hospice lead­ers en­cour­aged the health sys­tem to be­gin pro­vid­ing hospice care in or­der to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of care for the com­pany’s pa­tients and the com­mu­nity. Van Gorder said Scripps has been San Diego hospice’s big­gest re­fer­ral source. “We felt no need to repli­cate some­thing that was work­ing well in this com­mu­nity,” he said. With that chang­ing rapidly, Scripps Health ac­quired a small com­pany called Hori­zon Hospice to get a hospice li­cense quickly. The sys­tem ac­quired all of the for-profit com­pany’s shares Feb. 4 and is work­ing with the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health to con­vert the com­pany to a not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion and change the name, Van Gorder said. San Diego Hospice lost about $535,000 on rev­enue of $83 mil­lion in 2010, ac­cord­ing to its most re­cent tax fil­ing avail­able. The com­pany said in its bank­ruptcy pe­ti­tion that it owes about $9.8 mil­lion to the 20 cred­i­tors with the largest un­se­cured claims.

—Gregg Blesch

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